Monday, March 12, 2018

Guinness Beef Stew à la Pat

Guinness Beef Stew with
Mashed Potatoes
and Newfangled Colcannon 
A few years ago, on a chilly autumn day, I visited Dublin and took the train to Howth with a walk on the East Pier in mind. The wind was fierce, and I soon found myself in a pub before a roaring peat fire with a glass of wine and a gorgeous bowl of Guinness Beef Stew. Alas, the cook wouldn't give me the recipe!

We'll see about that, sez I. When I returned to New Hampshire, I concocted a tasty stew on a par with the one I'd enjoyed in Howth, and I'm happy to share the recipe. Sorry I can't offer a roaring peat fire!

4 lbs. beef stew meat, trimmed                  1 13-oz. can of beef broth
3 Tbs. vegetable oil                                       3 cans of Guinness Stout
A dollop of bacon fat (optional)                 3 tsps. Worcestershire sauce
5-6 Tbs. flour                                                 2 tsps. dried thyme
One large onion, chopped                           1½ Tbs. brown sugar
1½ lbs. sliced mushrooms                          A few bay leaves
4-5 cloves of garlic, minced                        Salt and pepper to taste 

1. Heat the oil and bacon fat, if you're using it, in a deep frying pan. Brown the meat in batches, sprinkling with flour as it cooks. Remove meat to a stew pot.

2. Add chopped onions to the frying pan. Cook until soft. Add the mushrooms and sauté until they release their moisture and start to brown. Add minced garlic and sprinkle on any remaining flour.

3. Add mushrooms to meat with beef broth, Guinness Stout (*or Draught), and remaining ingredients. Stir well and simmer uncovered for about two hours, or until meat is tender and sauce thickens. (I like to make it a day ahead to let it "stew" and skim the fat off the top.)

Serving suggestions: mashed potatoes, brown soda bread, colcannon, or a salad. Serves six to eight, and leftovers are great.

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